Mountain Bike Tour of the Yorkshire Dales 2017

October 25th, 2017 by leventhorpe

The Flying Herbert's are a Mountain Biking Group some of whom are or have been members of York Alpine Club. Every Saturday morning they do Mountain Bike ride somewhere in Yorkshire, last week from Gargrave, this week from Barnsley. In addition most years they do a multi day tour on Mountain Bikes. Some times we have a single base and other times we stop at a different place every night, tours last 4-6 days. Place to place tours in recent years have included routes in the Cairgorms, the North York Moors and the Sandstone Way (Northumberland). The 2017 trip was a Tour of the Yorkshire Dales. The inspiration for the tour was the Yorkshire Dales 300 a 2 day! 300Km mountain bike race and rides of our developed over the years on a Saturday morning ride in the area. We originally planned to go as a team of four but due to big toes and chinese laminate flooring we ended up with three riders Peter Evans (The only YAC person), Phil Sawyer and Paul Bell. We planned for 2 half days and 4 full days riding staying mostly in Youth Hostels, carrying our own kit

Day 1, Pateley Bridge to Kettlewell 26 miles

Thursday 10am. A lovely clear day.

At the start we parked in the street outside Pateley Bridge Primary School much to the amusement of the pupils out at play time. The route followed one of our usual Saturday morning rides as far as the dam at Scar House Reservoir, stopping for a cup of Tea and the usual (Beans on toast with an egg on top) at High Stean Gorge. Then up the side of the reservoir before climbing to the col between Little Whernside and Great Haw. From there we dropped down into Coverdale and began a long road climb to Tor Dyke. Next we made our first changed to the planned route, opting for a fast road descent down Woodale to Kettlewell rather than what looked like soft ground to Cam Head. We spent the night a Kettlewell Hostel, run privately, but marketed by the YHA. The Beef Stew there is huge and excellent.

Day 2, Kettlewell to Grinton 29 miles

Friday, Grey and wet to start, improved during the day.

Cooked breakfast. Another change, road to Buckden (Blame the weather) rather than going up high. Then followed a route called 'A Pennine Journey' towards Bishopdale. Disaster! Peter falls off attempting to ride up steep slippery limestone. Hurts like mad getting back on the bike but once on the pain is manageable. Route does not go down Bishopdale, instead heads north over Stakes Allotments to Wensleydale. Teastop at Askrigg (Not usual, a variety of menu choices). On and off road to Castle Bolton. A lot of pushing North up to Apedale (Would have been better going by road). Up Apedale, missed a turning at Whitaside Moor. Peter's lungs not large enough to call the front runner back, so road now all the way to Grinton and Bridge Inn pub stop before steep climb to the Youth Hostel. Back to the pub for food – not as good as Kettlewell Hostel, pie pastry shortcrust but microwaved to death.

Day 3, Grinton to Hawes 26 miles

Saturday, good weather to start, rains a bit in the afternoon.

Shopping trip to Dales Bike Centre. Steeply up Fremlington Edge, more pushing than the last time, is it because we are carrying loads or because we are older or both? Next to Langthwaite. Picnic by Old Gang Beck. Over to Melbecks Moor. Lovely riding, not easy for the one with the poorly arm. Another fall, a bloodcurdling scream, the front runners way ahead did not hear, Then called at the Halcrow Fox Estate for a welcome cup of tea and a grand tour. The riding is taking its toll, we decide to go by road to Hawes, steeply out of Swaledale,, we stop at Askrigg for a teastop (different cafe). We are knackered, there has been lots of climbing. Spend the night at the Youth Hostel too tired to visit the town. Food adequate at Youth Hostel, warmed up curry? not memorable. We impressed the Tasmanian water wheel fanatics with our exploits though.

Day 4, Hawes to Ingleton 17 miles

Sunday, filthy weather up high, wind and rain.

Next morning Phil drops a bombshell he is retiring from the ride, not well. He looks at his options and decides to cycle by road to Garsdale Head where he can get a train back to Leeds. The other two also make changes. We had intended to go to Bainbridge and up the Roman Road, instead we decided to shorten the ride by going south east to Dodd Fell. In good weather this would have been brilliant cross country riding despite a push up at the start. We got to Ribble head and and had a sausage and egg butty with cup of tea from the catering van there. Took ages for the food to arrive and had to shelter from wind. From here we should have ridden above Twistleton Scar, not keen on slippy limestone, instead we opted to go to Ingleton by road. This meant we got to Ingleton Youth Hostel rather early so it was not open yet. We went to Bernie's caving shop/cafe otherwise there is not a lot to do on a Sunday in Ingleton in October. Pub food at the Wheatsheaf ok, the woman sitting at the bar described her sex life in detail.

Day 5, Ingleton to Grassington 27 miles

Monday, the wind is behind us, some rain.

First road to Clapham. Off road via Austwick and Feizor to Giggleswick Scar. Tea stop at the Naked Man in Settle. Steep road then off road ride out of Settle following our Malham ride. Then to Mastiles Lane towards Kilnsey cutting across before part way down to join our Linton ride and the usual superb down hill to Threshfield and Grassington. The bunkhouse we were staying is at the top of a hill above Grassington so before climbing we had an end of day drink in the village. Grassington Bunkbarn is very well appointed. Great food and atmosphere at the Foresters Arms. We went back for breakfast on Tuesday. The best days riding not to far, not too much climbing, finished in good time.

Day 6, Grassington to Pateley Bridge 16 miles

Tuesday, good weather

We shortened the ride again so we could go to Grassington for breakfast because we did not want to go back up hill immediately after. Road then to Skyreholme and the across Pock Stones and Braithwaite Moors, on the route of our Appletreewick ride, back to Pateley Bridge and a celebratory drink outside in the sun at the Royal Oak.


We ended up cutting a lot of distance out of the ride due to the climbing taking more out of us than expected. When we did the NYM ride last year we travelled further each day but did a lot less climbing. Peter carried way too much stuff. He has .gpx files of the routes each day, if interested.


After the ride Peter drove to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton to have his arm checked at A & E. It is quite difficult changing gear with a right hand in a right hand drive car. Verdict broken humerous in left arm just below shoulder. Rode for 4 ½ days with the injury, Doctor not impressed.


An extended Cambrian Way, Clun to Aberdovey, Wales.

One Response to “Mountain Bike Tour of the Yorkshire Dales 2017”

  1. pebbles says:

    Great to see what the Herbert's have been up to, astonished to hear that Pete has fallen off and damaged himself….a first for him surely. Get better soon Pete ;-D

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